Hoe Yean hoping for some push from Americans to break national record

PETALING JAYA: Khiew Hoe Yean (pic) is in the best position to make a strong bid for a second national record in the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest today.

The 20-year-old has been placed in Heat 4, which is also the last heat of the men’s 200m backstroke event.

He has for company two American title contenders in four-time Olympic gold medallist backstroke specialist Ryan Murphy and the world short course reigning champion Shaine Casas.Murphy lost his six-year grip on the world record after he came in second to Italian Thomas Ceccon in the 100m backstroke final on Monday and he will be looking to swing back strongly in the 200m distance.

The last heat is also the strongest heat in swimming and Hoe Yean is in very strong company as his fellow competitors will surely not be holding back and aim for 1.55 mark to try to get into the top 16 semi-finals.

Hopefully, this will provide the young Malaysian swimmer the push to dip under his own national record of 2:00.80 he set in the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil last year.

Hoe Yean smashed the long-standing national record of 2:00.94 held by Alex Lim Keng Liat back in 1998 when he splashed to silver in the Bangkok Asian Games.

Hoe Yean would go on to win his first SEA Games gold medal in the 200m freestyle in Hanoi last month as well as take home three silvers (200m backstroke, 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle) and one bronze (800m freestyle).

Hoe Yean enjoyed a superb start to his campaign in Budapest when he erased Welson Sim’s national record of 3:49.29 when he clocked 3:48.72 to place 15th in the men’s 400m freestyle on Saturday.

“We didn’t miss a beat after the SEA Games, we swam hard the first day we got back to training.

“The swimmers have not stopped training actually, so they are in good shape,” said coach Chris Martin.

Tokyo Olympian swimmer Phee Jinq En, who is recovering from Covid-19, is hopeful of being given a clean bill of health to race in the women’s 50m breaststroke heats tomorrow.

Jinq En had to pull out from the 100m breaststroke event after coming down with Covid-19 last week.

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